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Eleni Cubitt obituary: Parthenon Marbles campaigner produced film with Jean-Luc Godard starring the Rolling Stones

PUBLISHED: 15:41 04 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:13 05 May 2020

Eleni Cubbit. Picture: Nana Varvelopoulou

Eleni Cubbit. Picture: Nana Varvelopoulou

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An “electric, charming, voluble” film-maker who led a campaign calling for the Parthenon Marbles to be returned her native Greece died earlier this month, aged 95.

Eleni Cubbit. Picture: Nana VarvelopoulouEleni Cubbit. Picture: Nana Varvelopoulou

Eleni Cubitt was a founding member of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM), where she worked as secretary for 29 years.

When Greece was occupied by the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, Lord Elgin took the marbles from the Acropolis in Athens and sold them to the UK government.

The classical Greek marble sculptures remain on display at the British Museum.

Eleni was at the forefront of the international campaign for them to be returned, and successfully lobbied former Labour leaders Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock to support the cause.

Ms Cubbit was also executive producer for the 1968 Jean-Luc Godard film Sympathy for the Devil, which starred the Rolling Stones.

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Eleni, who lived in Islington for decades, had been a resident at Bridgeside Lodge care home in Wharf Road for the past four years. Eleni had dementia and died on April 8.

A “number of residents” have died with Covid-19 at Bridgeside Lodge, but Eleni wasn’t tested for the virus.

BCRPM chair Dame Janet Suzman said: “Dear electric, charming, voluble Eleni, your dream of the Marbles returning home to the land of your birth will one day be a reality. So for now we all salute you and your amazing life. You will be missed by all of us and most of all by those who loved you, of which I am one.”

Eleni’s son Ron Collard said: “Eleni adored her family, from children to grandchildren and great grandchildren. Because of her huge energy, she would prioritise finding the time for her children as they negotiated the many crises of growing up.

“Indeed, as they grew up, she had a knack of always being able to give an opinion on whatever they were reading or studying that helped them think differently - or just helped if they needed it! With her much adored grandchildren her knack was to make every one of them feel special however close or far, whatever age or stage they were always at the forefront of her thinking.”

Current BCRPM secretary Marlen Taffarello Godwin told the Gazette: “I had the privilege of working with Eleni from 1999 to June 2012 when she retired and we organised a presentation for her at the Hellenic Centre in London.

“Eleni was an incredible person, dynamic and energetic, she inspired so many more passionate campaigners here in the UK, in Greece and all around the globe. She is going to be sorely missed for many reason but most of all because we all loved her.”


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